Why should sports matter in society?

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Boston Herald

Recently, I wrote my latest post on the validity of offensive and goaltending point shares in hockey. As always, I hope you all enjoyed reading it. It was a post I have been planning all week, just like any other week since I have started this blog. Also like any other week, I have been hoping to finish every post on a Sunday or a Monday, depending on how little work I get done on Sunday because of my consistent lack of professionalism how much I care about the quality of my work. However, I could not help but feel very queezy posting last week’s piece.

See, this wasn’t any Monday night that I finished writing my piece. This was THAT Monday night. This was a Monday night where over 170 people’s lives will never be the same. A night where a city and a nation will never be the same. Sure, I did not do anything wrong, but I felt like I had a complete lack of decency for what I did. Because of how I was feeling, I needed to look at my twitter feed to make sure that what I did last night was not inappropriate. Thankfully, it wasn’t the case as others were writing sports columns and blog posts as well. When news broke out of two bomb explosions occurring at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Americans were not able to function normally as eyes were too fixated on the developments ahead. And then, Friday arrived. That was the day the manhunt for the marathon bombing suspects happened as a vibrant city turned into a frightened ghost town. Long time residents of the Washington DC area could not help but relate.

But when that all died down, our nation had to find a way to wake up from this horrible that was last week (let’s not ignore that horrible explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas). That was where sports came in. What makes writing today’s post so saddening was this entire week started with a tragedy at…a sporting event. Since September 11th, 2001, we all prepared for the worst in the sporting world. What would happen if a terrorist attack were to happen at the Super Bowl? How about an NCAA basketball game or a baseball game? Years later, who would have guessed it would happen at a marathon? Weird activity has happened in a marathon before. Remember that protestor from the 2004 Olympic men’s marathon? That moment was just treated as comedic material as the runner harmed, Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil, still found a way to win the bronze medal (he was leading the race, but still).

Even after that fateful Monday, people were still writing about sports. Perhaps, it’s the only thing that writers and bloggers like myself can do to move on and think about a brighter day. When you really sit down and think about it, our love for sports is certainly strange. We play games as children and realize later on that you can make a living off of it. And because of sports, we strive at staying as young as we can be and rooting for grown adults playing a children’s game. Sometimes, we adults still participate or even volunteer in these silly games as well. When a race occurs, many would like to win it, but the act of seeing a personal best or the accomplishment of completing a race for a personal or charitable cause is joy within itself.

Knowing from personal experience, all those outward stresses from daily life are washed away from that youthful exuberance of running. When we as children get older, you learn to take charge of your path, you take charge of your goals and routine and those things lead you to an adventure on the path you run. That’s what I feel whenever I jog along the Millenium Trail on Shady Grove or Sligo Creek Park in Silver Spring. To see that joy being put into such interruption and even taken away in the most violent way possible is among the up there among the most hideous of nightmares. All that youthful exuberance was taken away, on the blink of an eye.

So how did many Bostonians recover from such heart-wrenching days. They went to a baseball game. They went to a hockey game. They cheered on their basketball team from a state away. In those events, they sang in song. They honored the true everyday heroes that sacrifice their lives because it is their jobs. They find ways to turn strangers into friends for just a couple of hours and turn groups of friends and families into communities between twenty to forty thousand in one building. That is what being a sports fan is all about.

Sure, it is weird to see grown human beings play a child’s game and making millions for it. Sure, like our society in general, sports has some very ugly warts. Sure, when your team loses, you feel pain and when your team wins, there is an extra chip in your step because for some reason, that’s what happens when you watch sports. When that game you are watching is all over, you move on with your day because it is just a game. But for that two to three hours, you embraced the freedom of enjoying that youthful exuberance of watching your team play. You enjoyed having your breath taken away by a nice play, the drama resulting from all the action, the loud noises of the crowd and other excitements that make sports a little extra special than anything else in our daily life. Did you know that before Mark Emmert ruined college sports college and high school sports used to be unanimously meant as a means for developing life lessons that carry on to your academic studies and post-graduate lives? “Always take care of the little things and big things will happen for you.” “Sometimes it takes a sum of its parts to win instead of a collection of individuals to get the job done.” “Always make every shift count.” So even when we loud buffoons get too carried away in the action of the game, we sit back and remember that the rest of our lives are ahead of us. But with those memories and life lessons, sports carries a weight that can sometimes be impossible to describe, but prove to be something that we must cherish during the good times and especially the bad times. For that it is those youthful days that we want to always enjoy while our lives get older and the current events that shape that life make us too serious for our own good.

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